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Memories in motion. Contemporary art from Mauritania is the first exhibition entirely dedicated to Mauritanian contemporary art outside its borders and presents works by Mamadou Anne, Oumar Ball, Zeinab Chiaa, Daouda Corera, Malika Diagana, Béchir Malum, Saleh Lo, El Moctar Sidi Mohamed "Mokhis", Amy Sow, Mohamed Sidi, and Moussa Abdallah Sissako.
Despite the geographic proximity and close historical and cultural ties between Spain and Mauritania, Mauritanian artistic expressions are little known to the Spanish public. This is the reason that has moved Casa Árabe and Casa África to carry out this project that will be held at the headquarters of both institutions throughout 2022 with three exhibitions that can be visited in the cities of Madrid, Cordoba, and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
This exhibition, curated by Aicha Janeiro, explores how memories - personal, collective, or cultural - manifest themselves in various creative processes in the contemporary art movement in Mauritania. The paintings, photographs, facilities, and sculptures on display allow us to reflect on the interconnection between memory and imagination, a subject that characterizes the current art scene in Mauritania and bring us closer to different personal and collective stories that intermingle with symbolic elements and underlying references to popular traditions such as poetry, African oral tradition, Arabic, Chinese or Tifinagh calligraphy, traditional Tuareg crafts or objects, and everyday life. In the same way, the artists show concern for current topics, shared by any other territory of our planet, such as the environment, migratory processes, the situation of women in society, miscegenation, or the recent pandemic.
Mauritania's history is marked by movement, interaction, and adaptation, and is distinguished by its wide coastal strip, bathed by the waters of the Atlantic, and essentially desert geography and climate, where the white and red dunes of the Sahara are transformed into the savannah in the south, in the valley of the Senegal River. In the interior, mainly in the Adrar region, various archaeological sites testify to human presence and artistic expression since the Neolithic period through the discovery of tools, handicrafts, engravings, and cave paintings featuring various symbols, animals, and anthropomorphic figures.
The artistic expressions of Mauritania are framed in the cultural, geographical, and political context of the Sahel region, bringing together in its territory a true crossroads of cultures. Marked by various processes linked to globalization and by the reference to Mauritanian or other countries' cultural heritages, the works of the eleven artists present in the exhibition are an expression of the rich and fascinating cultural hybridization that defines the capital, Nouakchott, where these creators live most of the time.
The exhibition can be visited from February 25 to May 15, 2022, at Casa Árabe's headquarters in Madrid (Location: Calle de Alcalá, 62) from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 7:30 pm.
Prior to the opening of the exhibition, a round table will be held on Thursday 24 at 18:00 (Madrid time) to discuss the panorama of artistic creation in Mauritania. It will be conducted by the curator of the exhibition, Aicha Janeiro, and will feature the live participation of four of the artists: Oumar Ball, Malika Diagana, Béchir Malum, and Amy Sow. The vehicular language will be French, but we will have simultaneous interpretation into Spanish. Free admission until full capacity is reached.
In addition to the exhibitions at Casa Árabe and Casa África's headquarters, a series of activities will be programmed during the year that will also focus on Mauritania, including a film show that will include titles such as "Soleil, O", by Med Hondo; “En attendant les hommes”, by Katy Léna N'diaye; and "Heremakono", by the great filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako.